My MS and the Thinkings It Has Brought Lately

So, Dr. Wile E. Coyote has been talking with a few people he has met that have MS, as well. I love hearing their stories told second-hand by the Pre-Doc. He has even been giving my blog address to a few of them! I have been realizing a few things. 1) I have a hard time accepting the MS that has helped to make me who I am. In two years, I will have had MS for half my life. I was diagnosed when I was going through puberty, so it became who I was, whether I wanted it to or not. 2) I’m kind of prideful about it. I feel like having MS makes me different from a lot of people—they don’t know what’s going on in me, how it affects things from a feeling perspective. But then I meet someone who can, and it’s weird. When I especially wanted to meet people who could relate when I was first diagnosed, there was no one my age to be found. Everyone was a whole lot older than I was, and I didn’t feel like I could relate with anyone. 3) Technology and medicine have come a LOOOOONG ways, and I am so thankful. Dr. Coyote was telling me the story of someone he met that was diagnosed at age 18 in the ‘60s. I can’t even imagine. Even when I was diagnosed a decade ago, there were misdiagnoses happening to many children. Everyone (including myself) was shocked that I was diagnosed with MS so quickly. I am also so thankful that everything else had ruled itself out so fast. Two separate incidences of MS within a few months? And the fact that I’m a third-generation MSer. Which leads me to 4) My family is awesome. Both of my grandmas had MS, though only one knew of it when she was living. Then I was diagnosed. Then they found that my dad and his sister had shown signs of MS when they were in high school, as it turned out. And then on the other side of the family, a cousin was diagnosed. But God chose each of us because he knew we would change our world. I’ve mentioned it before, but so many people looked up to my grandma Lois and her positive attitude, though the disease weakened her and she passed sooner than she would have without it. But it’s okay. It has been 5-ish years since she was “promoted to heaven” (Jason’s term). My dad and his sister (who is working halfway around the world in Mongolia!) don’t speak of it much—at least not in my earshot. I get the feeling that they feel the same way I do about wasting energy complaining. It’s really easy to do, but it gets exhausting. They, luckily, had already learned that, though, and I had to learn by doing. (That’s how I learn best, though, and why I’m good at what I do.) And my cousin Jenni will ask questions sometimes about my experiences with MS (and I’m so glad when I can help her out!), but I don’t hear much from her, either. I think that sometimes she does what I used to do and forget about the MS, that it’s even there. Those were the days. Now I CAN’T forget it’s there. Ah, well, God is teaching me much through it. It’s all for his purpose and glory. 5) God is teaching me through this MS a whole lot of things. I’m seeing how important it is to REST sometimes, even though I like being busy all the time (according to Dr. Wile E, I’m like my father that way…and that may be true). I have learned how to ADVOCATE for myself over the years (thanks, Mom…that’s super important, and making me talk to doctors and not talking for me was good). I’ve learned that in my weakness, God is STRONG (and I’ve been seeing it PHYSICALLY, as well as in other ways, which is pretty cool). I’ve been seeing how much others care for me, as well. I hate when I get lectured at or told to stretch more. But I always melt a little when Dr. Wile E. Coyote adds that he tells me these things because he loves me and doesn’t want to see me get worse if I can help it. And I have seen the benefits of stretching in my own life, as well as my grandma Lois’s—she had a caregiver before she moved to the nursing home that stretched her muscles every day (and it helped!).

I have a lot to be thankful for, including the MS itself. As I’ve referenced it before, it’s the “thorn in my flesh” that the Lord is using in my life. I just like writing out these things at times when I’m thinking. It makes it more revelationized in that fabulous brain of mine (and it is fabulous—I have pictures of it. Do you have proof of your brain?).

Peace,

Anna

The Thorn in my Flesh….A Gift?

It came to me like a light suddenly being flipped on in a dark room illuminated by a night light.  The kind of light that hurts your eyes, but then you can see across the room to the object you knew was there but couldn’t really see with only the night light given its limited illumination.  Multiple Sclerosis is the thorn in the flesh “gifted” me by Jesus Christ.  This “messenger or Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7) that harasses me is a continual reminder that I depend on Jesus for everything.  I depend on him for physical energy throughout the day, for comfort in my despair, for life, for everything.  God uses the “messengers of Satan” to serve us.  In 2 Corinthians, Paul displays this openly.  I have clung to his words, but I have received a new understanding.  I don’t want MS.  It drains me and limits me and causes me to go crazy when I lose feeling in my hand or my leg.  I can’t even describe in words, and it’s not really possible for anyone to exactly understand it, anyway.  But God’s promise remains: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).  Back in October, I wrote this post relating my thoughts on this passage (real thoughts and thinkings, people).  When I am weak, then I am strong.  I want it to go away, but the more I ignore the MS tormenting my body, the more it takes advantage of making me miserable.  If you ignore a thorn, stuck in the flesh, it won’t go away.  Oh, why have I not seen this analogy before?

“God showing his strength through weak things was laced all through redemptive history, culminating in the cross” (Bloom).  Oh, man, God is awesome.  His grace is abounding.  Through these thorns, he gives us JOY.  He always is kind of opposite of the world.  I pray that I’ll remember the MS as a gift when I struggle.

The college band I am in is on tour currently, and it is exhausting.  I have been learning what I can and can’t do, and I am so ever thankful for the other people that help out.  I play percussion, and the percussion equipment must be unloaded off the truck and set up before each concert—it’s a lot of work!  I am the door holder, because I know I can do that.  I help pack up, but there are extra hands that help with load up, giving me the opportunity to head back to the bus.  I am so thankful to everyone who is helping the percussion section and me.  I am so blessed by people all over!  Thank you to you who are reading this who have been helping me out as we tour and elsewhere/other times in my life.  You know who you are.  MS as a gift?  Still seems weird, but I’ll try it out.

Anna 🙂

 

Insight sourced:  Bloom, Jon. “Are You Content with Weakness?” (Desiring God)